First Solar starts 102MW Aussie work

AGL Energy and US PV giant First Solar have broken ground on the construction of Australia’s 102MW Nyngan Solar Project.

The 250-hectare plant in New South Wales (NSW) is the first of two PV projects that AGL is developing at a total cost of A$450m ($395m), and will be one of the largest utility-scale solar plants in Australia.

First Solar will be providing EPC at the project, as well as maintenance services for five years post-commissioning for the approximately 1.35 million thin-film PV modules.

The project, expected to be completed mid- 2015, will create an estimated 300 construction jobs, said the partners. In total, the Nyngan project is expected to add nearly 2% to the gross regional product of the community.

One of Australia's largest utilities, AGL Energy received A$195m funding through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW government to build 159MW of PV projects.

First Solar expects to commence construction of the second project in Broken Hill, NSW, in mid-2014.